Souvenir: President of MCCC, Tan Yew Sing (second from right) presents a souvenir that incorporates three major ethnic cultures in Malaysia to the Ambassador, H.E. Bai Tian (center).
Kuala Lumpur: The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia, H.E. Bai Tian, disclosed that the China Construction Bank (Malaysia) Berhad recently purchased RM200million Malaysian Islamic Bond to support our new government.
The Ambassador said that the Chinese government places importance on the relations between Malaysia and China. When the new government tries to solve the debt problem, the purchase of government bonds is a support for Malaysia.
The Ambassador expressed the above remarks when he met the delegation led by the President of Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC), Tan Yew Sing last Friday. Tan briefed the Ambassador on the major activities and plans of MCCC. Both sides also exchanged views on the recent challenges and development trends of the economic and trade co-operation between Malaysia and China.
The Ambassador pointed out that the Chinese government has three prerequisites for Chinese-funded enterprises when they invest overseas: to abide by the relevant laws and regulations of Malaysia and China, comply with internationally accepted commercial guidelines and the contract, and adhere to the principle of equality, mutual benefit, and win-win co-operation.
The Ambassador said frankly that the Chinese government opposes any company’s improper behaviour. If the Malaysian government needs the assistance of the embassy, he will be happy to co-operate.
Bai stressed that the negative rumours brought by the recent 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) project to the Chinese companies were only one or two cases. The views of the parties concerned on the pragmatic cooperation between Malaysia and China should not be blinded.
Speaking about the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project, Tan said that it is understandable the new government needs to review the rationality of this project. However, this does not mean that Malaysia is against China. The governments of both sides should negotiate it at the “nation-to-nation” level based on long-standing friendly relations. In order to achieve a win-win situation, it is indeed necessary to review the project pricing, construction time, project scale and even the construction methods.
The Ambassador pointed out that there are more than 100 state-owned and private enterprises that are currently investing or operating in Malaysia. These Chinese enterprises hire more than 70% employees on average, and the ratio of local employees in many companies is as high as 80% or even 90%. All of these are to achieve better technology transfer in the co-operation between the two countries and lay a solid foundation for Malaysia’s industrial upgrading. There are also some Chinese-funded enterprises that have sent local Malay employees to Chinese corporate headquarters or higher education institutions or vocational colleges for vocational training. In order to cater to the needs of Malay technical workers attending the training in China, the Chinese companies provided them with facilities such as a halal cafeteria and prayer room.
Tan stressed that in order to promote the skills of our country’s manpower and link with China’s advanced industries as soon as possible, it is necessary for Malaysia and China to start from the vocational education co-operation in order to cultivate a new generation of high-quality skilled workers who are familiar with the economic conditions and technologies of the two countries. Malaysia, which is booming, is in great need of China’s technology, R&D resources and capital assistance. Both sides urge the Chinese companies to continue to invest in Malaysia and co-operate with the local business community for a win-win situation.
The Ambassador pointed out that the data of a large number of local employees hired by the Chinese enterprises will eventually scotch the rumours about china threat.
Bai added that certain areas required the employees from China because of the lack of local employees with relevant skills. It is hard to find local technical staff at this stage for specific types of Chinese-funded jobs. For example, TRX Exchange 106 has a full floor completed in every three days. At the top of the building, they are doing two-day cycles on the concrete floor slabs. In addition to proper planning, these achievements and engineering efficiencies must be backed up by skilled technical work.
At present, in line with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has launched 13 international scholarships. There are more than 20 provincial and municipal government scholarships and 20,000 Belt and Road scholarship for overseas students including Malaysia to cultivate China’s soft power. Their target is to have 500,000 international students in 2020. According to statistics, there are more than 8,000 Malaysian students studying in China and more than 15,000 Chinese students studying in Malaysia.
The Ambassador places great importance on the economic and trade relations between Malaysia and China. He elucidates the economic and industrial contribution of Chinese enterprises to Malaysia.
“Like China’s first-tier manufacturing companies, Jinko Solar and JA Solar Holdings, assisted Malaysia to become an important international producer of solar energy. The CRRC Corporation Limited (CRRC) has a manufacturing plant in Batu Gajah and this has also made Malaysia the most advanced rail transit vehicle manufacturer in ASEAN,” Bai explained.
Recalling that in 2017, the bilateral trade volume between Malaysia and China reached USD96billion, and China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years.
“Last year, the trade volume has not yet recovered to more than USD100billion but the first quarter of this year has an increase of 15.6%. We have begun to see a good momentum of growth. We are confident that this year’s bilateral trade volume will exceed USD100billion,” Bai said.
Last year, the volume of export from Malaysia to China amounted to USD54billion, accounting for one fourth of Malaysia’s total USD200billion in export. Last year, China was also the largest source of foreign direct investment in Malaysian manufacturing sector.
Ambassador Bai: Fresh Durian to be exported to China
The Ambassador revealed that he had recently met the new Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, YB Salahuddin Ayub. They talked about exporting fresh durian to China (currently only export frozen flesh).
“After I took office, I started to promote the export of Malaysia durian to China. There have been major positive developments in this work recently. I believe there will be good news soon,” Bai believed.
Earlier, Thailand’s Golden Pillow Durian was sold on the Tmall’s “Taste of Thailand” page. It sold more than 80,000 orders in the first minute, causing a stir. The Ambassador felt that the durians from Malaysia were more delicious, especially the Musang King Durian. They are very popular in the Chinese market and there will be a bigger market in the future.
Finally, the Ambassador Bai highly affirmed the significant contribution made by the MCCC in promoting the friendship, economic and trade relations between the two countries, and in particular the annual event of MCCC—Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference (MCEC). The Ambassador also praised MCCC for publishing the “Malaysia-China Trade and Investment Guide 2017”, organising the “Invest in China” and “Invest in Malaysia” workshops and bringing local entrepreneurs to China to participate in large-scale expos.
The other leaders of the MCCC who participated in this visit were the First Vice President, Loo Kok Seong, Vice President, Kerk Loong Sing, and Secretary-General, Kevin Siah.